Cincinnati, Ohio has a secret. A little shop called The Video Archive recently opened its doors and not all is as it seems. Behind the rows of B-movie horror titles and cult-classics, a shrine to Quentin Tarantino waits. And they are serving some of the wildest cocktails this side of Jack Rabbit Slims!
While “secret” bars are certainly on the rise, The Video Archive may be the most unique speakeasy you’ve never heard of. The point of entry for this bar sits at the back of a video rental (remember those?). To gain access, you have to peruse shelves lined with campy flicks, select the right one and you’re in. That’s right, the entrance to this bar is literally through a secret passage. The video shelf swings open to reveal where the action is really happening.
The main area is an intimate divey bar room with neon signs and diner barstools. The Video Archive has a mid-20th century feel, perfectly at home in one of Tarantino’s movies. The decor mixes in subtle references to his movies and in-character bartenders. If you have ever wanted to order a five-dollar shake from Mia Wallace, now is your chance. Behind the bar, TVs play snippets of Tarantino movies as well as westerns and the film Americana which influenced his work. And when it’s time to dance, a jukebox comes stocked with music that perfectly fits the theme.
As the bar’s main draw, the super-creative drink menu fits the theme perfectly, and at around $9, these cocktails won’t break the bank. And of course, they all come named after your favorite Tarantino characters and other references. The Jackie Brown is made with bourbon and eidflower liqueur mixed with blackberry-cucumber puree and salted honey, not exactly a low-brow concoction. And you would be remiss to not try your luck with a Mango Unchained (cognac, mango nectar-passionfruit syrup, lime juice, and chili hibiscus). The menu also comes with a line of Grindhouse shots with names like The Bride and Crazy 88. And finally, what you all have been waiting for. You can finally eat a Royale with Cheese. That is a tasty burger!
So next time you’re in Cincinnati, stop into The Video Arcade. Bring a few friends and walk to the back. Select the right movie and watch the look on their faces as you lead them into this bar-turned-love letter to Hollywood icon Quentin Tarantino.
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